Picture this. A 34 year old Roy Thomas heads into the Marvel offices, hot off seeing his first Kung-Fu film. He barges into Stan Lee's office and pitches a character based on the martial arts pop culture trend. We imagine the conversation going something like:
"Martial arts and karate is hot right now. Let's take all those Asian influences and make a superhero."
"We already have Shang Chi."
"But, he's not white."
Iron Fist made his debut in Marvel Premiere #15 in 1974, written by Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane. Danny Rand, a wealthy, white New Yorker, whose father happened upon the mystical city of K'un-L'un, saving the city's ruler, Lord Tuan. On a return trip to K'un-L'un, Danny loses his parents and trains in martial arts for 10 years under Lei Kung. In classic white superiority, Danny is the best fighter there.
Cut to 40 years later, and Iron Fist has his own Netflix series. Co-creator Thomas weighted in on the idea of cultural appropriation, having a white guy be the very best, like no one ever was.
Although, then, of course, people began making me aware of the fact that some people are complaining — as I think they have over the years — about cultural appropriation and crap like that, which just makes me furious.
He followed up his anger with the fact that he views Iron Fist as a simple adventure story.
You know, cultural appropriation, my god. It's just an adventure story. Don't these people have something better to do than to worry about the fact that Iron Fist isn't Oriental, or whatever word? I know Oriental isn't the right word now, either.
But, the best quote of all from Thomas is this.
He could have a buddy who was Asian.
Maybe someone like Colleen Wing, perhaps?
Iron Fist is out on Netflix now. The show currently holds a 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.
When asked for comment, The Outhouse's resident Asian sdsichero said, "I don't give a shit."